This year, students at the London College of Fashion’s MA17 course were inspired by feminism, in all its guises and sensibilities. From the conceptual artist Hanna Wick at the heart of Hew Wang’s dynamic collection to the 1960s housewives who inspire Lorenzo Buzzi’s ornate costumes of escape and rebellion, the position of women in society continues to prove a fertile starting point. The London College of Fashion MA17 show takes place at 7pm on Thursday 16 February 2017 at Dutch Hall, 7 Austin Friars, EC2N 2HA.
Picture credits: photography Felix Cooper; creative direction Anders Sølvsten Thomsen.
Katrina Wilson: ‘I found lots of books that recorded the spirit and energy of photographers who documented the lives of African tribes and I wanted to capture the life and community of the tribe. The collection incorporated a lot of print and knotting. It was very spontaneous. Tribes had a practical and functional element, but they also painted their bodies because they wanted to show off and represent themselves with colour and drawings. It was very creative and inspired by nature. So that’s where the prints come from.’ INSTAGRAM @KATRINAWILSON1
Hew Wang: ‘My work is based on the sculpture, drawings and photography of a feminist conceptual artist called Hanna Wick, how she worked for women’s rights and why women can’t do things like men. I started reading about the likes of Patti Smith and feminist artists. My first look is topless because I was told not to do it but I think that inspired me more to do it! Also, I did a lot of accessories, backpacks, shoes. For a long time, the female has been seen as an accessory to the male and I hate that idea. So the backpacks and things were designed from the beginning of the collection. They were not created to complete the look; they were the full look.’
Gergei Erdei: ‘The collection is inspired by the shellworks of the Victorian era, amazing miniature sculptures they put under bell jars, and by Sailor’s Valentines. These were very small shell images sailors gave to their lovers. I thought it was interesting how a very tough segment of society did such an emotional thing, because these images had very sentimental sentences inside – especially compared to women and men nowadays, with apps and the new ways people find love today. I did a lot of embroidery, based on shell sculptures, which almost became the bell jar for a human being, protecting the woman underneath from the new way of communication. I use antique fabrics and gold brass and embroidery, from 19th century naval uniforms. I love these materials because they have a texture and charm you can’t reproduce. You can’t repeat what a hundred years will do to brass material. So most of these pieces are on-off, not for reproduction.’ INSTAGRAM @GERGGEIERDEI
Lorenzo Buzzi: ‘My collection is called The Story of Vanda. I was inspired by a book that explores the role of women in 1920-60s American society. The book talked about women in advertising campaigns and the way males created this perception of women at that time. The book discusses how traditional Americans saw women as housewives who only stayed at home and looked after the children. The other inspiration was George Melies A Trip to the Moon (1902) and its colours, embroidery and costumes. In my narrative, Vanda is a traditional housewife from Palm Springs, California. The idea was to empower her so she could break free from tradition and conformity. Vanda uses art and Oriental culture to create a new image for herself.’ INSTAGRAM @LORENZOBUZZI_OFFICIAL
Siyang Meng: ‘My collection is called Mind Bending – from a photo series called Two Girls in The Garden. The pictures are very moving because they were taken at home by their mums. [In the pictures, the girls] are doing things without playing much attention [to the camera]. It feels like they are on another planet and are so carefree. I wanted to create something that didn’t feel part of reality like the girls. I wanted my collection to feel futuristic and glossy. My collection is like another space for people to imagine different things.’ INSTAGRAM @SIYANGMENG
Chen: ‘While Playground, an all-knitwear collection, conveys playfulness and lightness, it is underpinned by highly intricate and sophisticated structures. The elaborate patterns, rich colours and distinct textures are all knitted into one piece of seamless fabric. I am offering a new knitwear that renders a smooth surface which bears intricacy within a harmonious whole, as if the fabrics are born this way, natural and pristine. I am planning to study Stoll programming for knitwear in Germany. As a fashion designer and former engineering student, I found my passion in combining technology and art.’ INSTAGRAM @_I_AM_CHEN
Yuqing Lai: ‘My collection is called Mind the Gap, inspired by the London Underground and its workers. It combines menswear with womenswear to represent both bodies. I wanted to create a collection that shows the contrast between both genders, but also shows the women’s personalities.’ INSTAGRAM @LAI_YUQING
Young Mi Kim: ‘My collection is about a little girl who can’t travel. She creates her own version of the world, and every night travels by herself and becomes friends with the stars, the sea, the forest and nature. It’s a very textiles based and colourful collection, but not too pretty. I tried to express different types of work like tailoring, embroidery, knitting – by hand and with machinery. All these techniques are in my final collection within six outfits, which is not easy because you have to think about balance.’ INSTAGRAM @SHEHASTWOSMALLMOONS_OFFICIAL
Vilu Dau: ‘My collection is called ‘Feminine Power’. There was a group of women motorbike riders in 40s America. They called themselves the ‘motor maids’. They were fighting for equal rights for men and women and they would do these crazy tricks on their bikes. The collection is based on leather handcrafts with a mix of optic-fibre materials. The leather reflects power because it’s a really strong material; silver shades reflect the engines. The silhouette accentuates the female body shape and at the same time has volume, but my main focus was the surface design. The flat surface was transformed to a 3D shape and everything is handcrafted.’ INSTAGRAM @VILUDAU
Wendel Heung: ‘My collection is inspired by nocturnalism and symptoms like sleepwalking. And I got ideas from vintage corsets to get a sense of what people have when they have nocturnalism. I think it’s quite hard for them to distinguish reality from dreams …’ INSTAGRAM @WENDELHEUNG